This recipe turns the popular Thai dish of grapow gai (also known as pad kra gao), spicy basil chicken into fried rice with a sweet and spicy sauce made from oyster sauce, soy sauce and fish sauce and topped with additional crispy basil leaves. The chicken in this recipe can easily be swapped out for meat like thinly sliced beef or shrimp instead. Gra pao gai is traditionally made with Thai holy basil – which I can sometimes find in Asian markets, but I use sweet basil (the bright-green type with cup-shaped leaves you usually find in grocery stores) in this recipe since it’s much more easily accessible. Thai holy basil has a peppery, slightly sour flavor while sweet basil is, well, sweeter.
Why use day-old rice?
Day old rice is optimal for cooking fried rice since it has dried out a bit. When making fried rice the goal is to fry it so it’s a bit crispy and absorbs the rice rather than steaming it to the point that it is mushy. While day-old rice isn’t required it definitely makes for the best texture. If you don’t have leftover rice you can mimic the dried rice by spreading the cooked rice in an even layer on a baking sheet and refrigerating it for an hour or freezing it for about 15 minutes.
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